After a hellacious few weeks of a hospital admission and a stay at a geriatric psych facility, my mother is finally being transferred to a long-term memory care center tomorrow. Our healthcare advocate suggested not visiting until she's settled, which I've definitely heard before in my online research, but I feel very uncomfortable about that. She's still "with-it" enough to recognize and understand the changes and we've been visiting almost every day the past few weeks, as we were not entirely comfortable with the level of her care. I'm worried that she'll be totally confused and feel suddenly abandoned and she's been waiting desperately to get to see her grandchildren again. What is the rationale behind not visiting initially? I'm not totally opposed if I really thought it was in my mom's best interest. I'm going to call the care facility to hear their take on it, but I'd love to hear your thoughts and experiences. Thanks in advance!

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I think waiting to visit is cruel (in most cases). When my mom had trouble adjusting, I came and spent nights with her (with the NH's blessing) until she started feeling safe.

"Experts" can have many different opinions. I guess we've each got to decide for ourselves.
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If your mother was used to seeing you often in the psych facility, I don’t see why it would hurt to keep up this routine, especially as she still has cognizance. I have read on here how some people stayed away so the parent could adapt, and I see the value in that, but one of the biggest things I’ve learned on this forum is that every case is different. Talk to the facility. Get their opinion, and then do what you think is right for your mother and for you. If you see that your visits are causing agitation, then extend the time between visits at first.
While reading your post, it brought to mind the advice mothers used to get about letting their babies cry it out and not picking them up so often in order to teach them to not be so dependent or to learn to self soothe. As with that advice, every baby is different. I knew when to let them cry and I knew when to pick them up. I say use your intuition and the relationship you have with your mother to guide you.
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I visited my Mom every day when she was admitted. The activity director took me aside and suggested that I stay away for a while. I smiled and thanked her. AND I continued to visit every day. My Mom was calm throughout her 18 month journey in memory care. I agree with others, each case is different. Be observant when you visit and it will guide you.
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I visited right away too and don't regret it at all. Dad was very high-functioning in cognition, and he would have felt scared and abandoned if I hadn't come.
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Not about elder care, but kind of related ...

My son needed surgery as a toddler. I did lots of research on what contributed to the long-term success of this kind of surgery. The factor that correlated best with success was how much the child was separated from parents -- the littler the better. That was even more important than the skill of the surgeon! So as I called clinics I asked what their post-surgery policy was. One said they kept the child 2 weeks and did not permit parental visits. OMG. I did NOT select that clinic! The one I selected had no restrictions on visiting and tried to get the child home within 5 days.
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Your post could have been written by me a few months ago when my husband was in memory care. I too struggled with their suggestion to stay away, and for 2 weeks, I came only every day. It was hard on me because I could not monitor how the facility was treating him. I learned later that he was over medicated and was not given a key to his room. I had a serious talk with the director about the medication issue because it was clearly against the law and I started to visit everyday after work. I lost trust in them. Keep in mind that the facility is there to make money, not to treat your mom like their own moms.

To answer your question, just go. This is her final leg of life journey, so make it as good for her and you as possible. Once she is gone, you won’t regret the decision! Be her advocate and Go! Go! Go!
Helpful Answer (10)

Don't wait...go!! The home where we placed Mom said to wait two weeks, which we did but looking back, I feel terrible about it now. She was afraid and lonely and I so wished we had gone often during the transition. Do visit!!!
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Take this from a real life situation that got me the moment of a lifetime. ..
All my adult life i was there for my mom when she needed ne and vice versa. Yes it got harder on me physically and emotionally but went anyway. In August she was admitted to rehab and in October admitted long term on dementia unit. I visited her every morning minus few days here and there for health or weather issues. Last week dr said she having stomach issue which she had often but usually corrected within few days but this time she didn't need to go to hospital because facility could do same treatment and see how she did later in day. My natural gut said go see her..this was in morning to make sure she was not in pain....i got there within 10 minutes and nurse was calling my cell as i walked in parking lot saying she didn't look good...i got there just minutes before she passed but got to hold her and tell her i love her and then she ket point is that i went with my gut of what i felt was right thing by going when i thought she needed me and because of that i have our last moments together which gave us both peace. ..if i did what others said i never would have that..this happened last week so cery fresh thing for me but everyone on here please go with your gut and heart because nobody there can do that
Helpful Answer (7)

When Mom was evaluated by the memory-community doctor, we were told that we needed to stay away for 3 weeks when she moved. I was shocked. Mom lived with us for 5 years and we took care of her for 10 total. She was extremely attached to us.

A week later, I moved her into the community and decided to visit her everyday at first.
I will never regret this decision, as I felt it was cruel to just drop her off and leave her alone for so long. My heart could not do that, no matter what the professionals told me to do.

I myself monitored the frequency of my visits. The nurses saw that I cared, so they also cared for Mom. After 2 weeks, I began skipping a day of visiting, to give her a better chance to adjust to the new schedule.

After 3 months, I began skipping 2 days, so that now I visit her on Wednesdays and Sundays for visits up to 3 hours. I started going with her to the afternoon group activities so that she could know she could go and begin forming those patterns on her own. Well, she hasn't, as she doesn't remember what she is supposed to go to, but her neighbors come by to remind her.

If my work allows it and if I am in the neighborhood on Fridays, I stop by for an hour as there are no afternoon activities those days and the afternoons are always difficult for her (she gets sun downers early if not involved in activities).

Mom has now been in the community for 9 months. Yes, she still prefers to be with us, as she misses us, but that cannot be as my priority had to be her best care, my health and my husband's health and life.

Now, I can better handle her repetitive question of why can't she come home, as she is cared for and loved at the community. AND, I have been able to take 5 day breaks every 2 months or so in order to take much needed rests and refocus my energies on work and other projects...a step at a time!

Bottom line:
This slow approach is harder and takes more time from me than just leaving her there with no contact to us for 3 weeks. BUT, it was they way my heart could do it.

I am very much at peace within myself to have taken this approach.
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My mom was visited by family on a daily basis when first going to memory care. Hubby in the same facility took her to lunch and dinner in the AL dining room. After a week of this the memory care stopped all visits, even from hubby for a week because of mom's level of agitation after visitors left. She was then taken to hospital for a geriatric psych assessment. They got her stabilized and sent her back to memory care. Did visitor restriction help? A bit. But mom was nearly constant agitation they had to try something. After that failure everyone had to return to their lives. Hubby was asked to just do lunch with mom because of sundowning behaviors at dinner time. He did not comply until some major issues with mom. She did a bit better with once daily visits from hubby. It is trial and error to see what works best for each resident. Let memory care take the lead and do as they request. They have seen it all and are the experts.
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